Plantar Warts

What are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are a common, benign and contagious skin infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts develop when the virus enters the body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of the feet.

What is the Typical Appearance of Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts appear as hard, grainy bumps on the soles of the feet. They are often gray, brown, or yellow in color. The warts may have small black dots (seeds) that appear to be embedded in the skin. These are the wart’s small blood vessels.

How are Plantar Warts Diagnosed?

Plantar warts are usually diagnosed by a health care provider. He or she examines the wart and its pattern of growth, general appearance, and location. A skin biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out cancer or other skin conditions.

How Are Plantar Warts Treated?

The following treatments may be used to treat plantar warts:

  • Cryosurgery: This procedure involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. The wart tissue is then shed from the foot over the course of a few days.
  • Salicylic acid topical treatment: This over-the-counter treatment, usually in the form of a liquid, cream, or lotion, helps remove the wart by gradually breaking down the infected tissue.
  • Laser treatment: This involves using a special laser to destroy the wart tissue.
  • Prescription medications: Prescription medications may be used to treat warts that are resistant to other treatments.

How Can Plantar Warts be Prevented?

The following may help reduce the spread and occurrence of plantar warts:

  • Wash your feet regularly and always dry them thoroughly.
  • Change shoes and socks regularly.
  • Avoid contact with warts on other people.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms, pools, and showers.
  • Do not share towels, socks, or shoes.